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European films

Film review: Paddington 2 – Hugh Grant brings hilarity to utterly enjoyable family movie sequel

Despite a thin plot, the beloved British children’s character, again voiced by Ben Whishaw, stars in this fun film for all the family that masterfully blends state-of-the-art animation with live action

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 December, 2017, 9:34am

4.5/5 stars

Paddington 2, the follow-up to the surprise 2014 hit based on the beloved British children’s book series by Michael Bond, is that rare sequel that is better than the original.

Again voiced by British actor Ben Whishaw, this outing sees the Peruvian bear try to track down a stolen pop-up book of London that he had wanted to purchase for his aunt’s 100th birthday. It’s a thin plot, but director Paul King stages it inside a meticulous world that utilises actual West London scenery with just the right amount of CGI.

As the thief who thinks the book could bring him hidden treasures, Hugh Grant turns in a hilariously campy performance, and his knack for deception leads to one of the best slapstick set pieces of the year when he tricks Paddington into being pursued, and captured, by the police.

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Much praise should be given to the animation team, who have done a masterful job of blending the computer-generated Paddington with a world inhabited by real-life humans. Paddington’s fur and facial expressions look even more realistic than in the first film, matching impeccably Whishaw’s vocals and delivery.

This is a fun family film for sure, but what makes it truly great is the fact it’s a story with a meaningful message. Much as the first film made a case for accepting immigrants, Paddington 2 is ultimately about the importance of remaining civil and tolerant despite a world increasingly being overwhelmed by prejudice and bigotry.

We need more movies like this.

Paddington 2 opens on December 21

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